Will 2022 Be The Year Of Bridges for Crypto?
Over the past decade, blockchain has grown from an unknown technology into one that has permeated into a range of industries. Its adoption into the world of finance has been one of its main concentrations, with 96% of financial service experts believing that blockchain will completely integrate into mainstream finance by 2030.
As the world of blockchain continues to grow, with more decentralized applications, layer one ecosystems, and applications of this technology increasing, there is a need to support this growth with interoperability. One of the main focuses of blockchain technology over the past few years has been accommodating its own growth by creating bridges between different ecosystems.
Bridges between major layer one ecosystems and supporting side chains have allowed central blockchain ecosystems like Bitcoin and Ethereum to boost their capabilities, extending their transactions per second or security offering in line with the connecting bridge. In this article, we’ll examine the place of bridges in cryptocurrency, commenting on how projects are using bridging to innovate their central structures.
What is a Blockchain Bridge?
As blockchain continues to grow more complex, entire ecosystems have arisen around leading chains, with entire decentralized economies and systems springing from Bitcoin, Ethereum, Cardano, and many others. Yet, while these systems can continue to grow independently, they fail to connect to one another, opposing the idea of a connected decentralized system.
The siloed nature of individual chains also leaves them open to weaknesses, with critical faults with the central chain then impacting all other connected projects. In order to overcome this blockchain siloing and connect different chains, developers use what is known as a blockchain bridge.
A blockchain bridge is a connection that links two blockchains, allowing for data, tokens, or general information to be passed from one to another. While these two connected chains might have different focuses, central protocols, even entirely different governance systems, the bridge provides a point in common, helping the chains to work together interoperably.
With blockchain bridges, users are able to exchange tokens from one chain to another, even executing mutually shared contracts. With this connection, the possibilities of what is realistically achievable when using blockchain expands greatly, providing a force of connection that still aligns with blockchain’s notion of decentralization.
As Web 3.0 focuses on creating a system that is completely open and interconnected, blockchain bridges will be a leading technology, with the fast development of this new iteration of the internet now leading bridges to come into central focus.
How Do Blockchain Projects Use Bridges To Innovate?
When discussing blockchain projects, there are two distinct camps when it comes to bridges and their benefits. The first camp addresses the advantages of bridges when it comes to entire layer one ecosystems, like Bitcoin and Ethereum. The second camp focuses on individual blockchain projects, with their development being aided by the construction of bridges.
Let’s break down both of these areas, demonstrating how bridges provide further support, structure, and a set of advantages to each camp.
Layer One Ecosystems
When a layer one ecosystem constructs a bridge, the main focus of the connection between the L1 and the side chain is to give both the benefits of the other. In a system like Ethereum, other blockchain projects may want to take advantage of the technologies that it can offer, desiring to construct a side chain link with them.
For Ethereum itself, constructing a bridge with another blockchain allows it to take advantage of all of the benefits that the system offers. For example, one of the main issues with Ethereum as a whole is its slow transaction speeds, leading to high gas fees. By forging a cross-chain connection via bridging to a blockchain network that offers higher transaction speeds, it can make use of its resources, increasing its own transaction output.
Quite simply, bridges within blockchain provide both parties with a range of benefits. Within ecosystems like Ethereum, this allows problems like their scalability issue to become overcome, increasing the efficiency of the blockchain holistically.
Individual Blockchain Projects
Individual blockchain applications and products can bridge to major ecosystems in order to expand their offering, as well as provide more functionality for their users. If we take the world of decentralized exchanges as an example, certain applications can bridge to expand their offering.
Blueshift, a DEX and asset management platform, focuses on creating bridges to create a more diverse range of options for its customer base. Currently, they host a Cardano native token, which has bridges to Milkomeda to expand the functionality of their DeFi platform. Milkomedia is an interoperability and scalability system, further pushing what is possible within Blueshift.
Blueshift also has future plans to bridge to Ethereum, which will then allow their whole userbase to integrate into the ETH system and manage their assets using that as a central currency. By providing their users the ability to create portfolios of assets, instead of just pairs to hold, Blueshift’s users can create more holistic crypto portfolios.
By accumulating further blockchains into its network by forming bridges, Blueshift uses bridging to expand its offering, further increasing the range of assets that users can change on their DEX platform. Through bridging, this system becomes more expansive, with this interoperable connection laying the foundation for a diverse DEX system.
Individual projects like this use bridging to expand their initial offering capability, bringing their users more functionality and furthering their experience.
While blockchain has faced many problems over the years, including interoperability and scalability issues, bridging is poised to remedy the vast majority of these potential issues. Providing a method of increasing the base functionality of blockchain ecosystems while also boosting the potential of individual blockchain projects, bridging is a win-win for this community.
Especially with the Ethereum merger on the horizon, 2022 is shaping up to be a radical point of change for blockchain bridging, with this action becoming one of the central advantages of this expansive decentralized system.